Chief Curator - Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin – Madison
The Chazen Museum of Art seeks a dynamic and visionary Chief Curator to lead its exhibitions and collections. Reporting to the Director and a member of the museum’s senior staff, the Chief Curator is an important voice in the museum’s efforts to build its reputation for scholarly and public programming initiatives, collections management, and patron stewardship.
The Chazen Museum of Art makes its home between two lakes on the beautiful campus of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Within walking distance of the state capitol, it sits squarely in the heart of a vibrant college town. Boasting one of the best views on campus, an art-filled bridge connects the two museum buildings and serves as a primary gateway between campus and community.
In 2020, the Chazen Museum of Art will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary as the University of Wisconsin’s flagship art museum. Since opening as the Elvehjem Art Center in 1970 (designed by Harry Weese), more than 3.7 million individuals have passed through the museum’s doors. The Chazen has a collection of more than 20,000 works covering diverse historical periods and cultures from ancient Greece, Western Europe, and the Soviet Empire to Moghul India, eighteenth-century Japan, and modern Africa. In contrast to many university art museums, the Chazen was founded by gathering together art from across the campus. In later years, thoughtful donors broadened the permanent collection, making it unlike any other; a collection of collections that explores vastly different, yet equally inspiring, artistic periods and genres.
The institution has undergone substantial changes in its history, most notably in 2011, with the opening of a major expansion building designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates. The museum now encompasses 2 significant buildings, with over 150,000 square feet of programming space. The opening of the expanded facility brought new opportunities to host international exhibitions, innovative public programs, and expanded access to the collection for faculty members, university students, and the community. The Conrad A. Elvehjem building is 90,000 square feet including the Kohler Art Library, classrooms and lecture halls, and the art history department offices. The new building includes the Museum Shop, Object Study Room, Print Study Room, Docent’s office, Art Studio Classroom, a state-of-the-art auditorium, and two temporary exhibit galleries. Behind the scenes, the expansion includes extensive storage, preparatory workspace, a 10,000 lb. capacity pass-through freight elevator and a self-leveling loading dock. The Chazen Museum of Art has an operating budget of $4 million and a full-time staff of 17; a part time staff of 27; and a 25 member national Council. The museum currently receives 85% of its annual operating budget through university support, and has an endowment of over $14 million, largely comprised of funds given to support art acquisition. The museum welcomes over 110,000 visitors annually and has been recently re-accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
The Chazen Museum of Art embodies the principle known as “The Wisconsin Idea”: that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom. As a university museum that is independent of any particular academic department, the Chazen strives to engage both arts and non-arts students, faculty and community in the exploration of art and artists. By searching for connections between global creativity and the experience of living, studying, or working in Wisconsin, the Chazen helps visitors gain deeper insights into their international and local communities.
Director Amy Gilman, hired in 2017, is leading the museum through a transformative process. As the university embraces changing demographics and cultural division, the Chazen will, in the coming years, explore and experiment with methods of deepening student and community engagement with art. Using the fundamentals of research and object-based study, curatorial staff are invited to apply their expertise in fresh ways. The Chief Curator is a key partner to the director, and will have the opportunity to shape the research, acquisition, management, display, and interpretation of a unique permanent collection, in addition to overseeing an active exhibitions program comprising both traveling and in-house curated projects large and small.
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ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
Lead development and growth of the permanent collection, overseeing legal and ethical issues and ensuring best practices for stewardship and care.
Develop a thoughtful and supportive team environment with active professional development focus.
Conduct and direct research related to the collection, including content for exhibitions and related publications.
Cultivate relationships with donors, collectors, professional colleagues, and the broader art world.
Be an active contributor to the field, producing original published research, presenting at conferences and participating in professional organizations.
Develop productive relationships with the campus community by collaborating with faculty members and mentoring graduate students to conduct research on the collection or engage in student exhibitions.
Oversee budget development for the curatorial department, working in close collaboration with the Director and Assistant Director for Administration to manage resources effectively.
Identify and pursue funding opportunities in line with the overall museum development strategy.
Supervise seven direct reports, including individuals working in registration, exhibition management, curation, and preparation as well as graduate project assistants and student employees.
Master’s degree in art history or related field required, PhD or equivalent preferred.
Minimum 3 years in a museum leadership position is preferred.
Expertise in an area in which the museum has holdings is required (information can be viewed online at https://www.chazen.wisc.edu/explore-art/collections/collections-information/).
Minimum 5 years of progressive experience as a curator or in a closely related position is required.
Distinguished body of publications and exhibitions is required.
Administrative skills in areas such as leadership development, project management and budgeting are required.
The position will offer a competitive salary and benefit package.
PROCEDURE FOR APPLICATION:
Bill Appleton is the MCA consultant leading this search. To be considered for this position, you must submit pertinent information and attach a current résumé, a one-page narrative describing interest and experience, and three professional references utilizing our online application system.
Once all your materials have been submitted online, you will receive a confirmation of your submission via the email address you have provided in the application.
The University of Wisconsin – Madison is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.